Everyone has a bad day. Everyone gets into a rut from time to time. If you are feeling tired, sad, disappointed, unmotivated – remember it never lasts forever. These feelings are terrible, but always temporary.
But the thing is, even if you know it’s temporary, sometimes that doesn’t make you feel better – because knowing that can’t fix anything. Especially if you are not just having a clumsy or unlucky day, but experiencing a hard time – such as you’re feeling lost about your life, something crushed your dream, or you lost your confidence and started doubting yourself – what you need is not just comforting words, but practical, specific solutions that can actually make changes.
Today I would like to share 6 things you can try when you are feeling like a failure.
1.Move Your Body
When you are tired, moving your body might be the last thing you want to do. However, exercising is not just for making you stronger, but also effective for healing your body and mind.
I’m so bad at sports, so exercise used to be my least favorite thing, and it was never part of my life. For that reason, when I heard that moving my body can make me feel better, I couldn’t really believe it. However, the more I hear about people around the world doing exercise as a part of self-care, the more I became convinced, and finally, I slowly started exercising, a few years ago.
When I say exercise, I mean nothing crazy or intense. Instead, I love doing yoga, walking, or running. Even though my exercises are pretty relaxed, I’m feeling how large influence that can give on my body and my mind.
When we are having busy days, working so hard, it becomes too easy to forget to breathe deeply, be mindful about your posture, or about what you pay attention to. As a result, you just leave your body tense or unhealthy, and leave your mind always occupied with problems and worries. Exercise will lead you to breath deeply, use and stretch muscles, and will distract you from your concerns. That’s how it can make you feel much better afterwards, physically and mentally.
Since I learned that, when I need to reset or reenergize my body or brain, I always try to move my body even for a short time. It might steal a few minutes from my schedule, but I will be more productive and efficient later.
You don’t need to be an athlete. You don’t even need to do anything serious. You can go for a walk near your home, do yoga or simple workout at home, watching videos online. My favorite way of exercising at home is doing yoga watching videos on a YouTube channel called “Yoga with Adriene“. They have wide variety of videos, from quick 5-minute morning yoga, 20-minute fat burning workout, to 1-hour relaxing deep stretch.
2.Visit New Places
Even though I’m always trying not to be, if I relax too much, I can be lazy and mindless very easily. If I let my laziness take over, I always end up being less adventurous and less curious about my daily life, and I wind up going to the same place, doing the same things again and again, for days, or even for weeks. Especially, the current situation with coronavirus doesn’t help. Since we can’t go out like we used to before corona, it’s even easier for me to spend too much time at home. I see and do almost the same things every day. I thought I was okay with it, but it’s been almost 4 months since it got serious here in Japan, and recently I feel like it’s finally getting me.
I realized that even an introverted nerd like me needs changes in life. Change stimulates your curiosity, and nourishes your mind. I recently learned that visiting new places can be an easy way to make a small change in my life. Just by seeing a scenery not too familiar to me, I can refresh, discover something new, and even relax. Just like I need to get fresh air regularly into my room to keep it clean and healthy, I also need to let fresh air into my mind, too.
You don’t necessarily have to go on a trip to visit new places. You can just take a different route when you go to work, or on your way home. You can take a little long way around to get to your destination. If the situation allows you, you can go to a park, river, or the sea nearby, just to chill. Even such small changes can give you fresh air you need.
When you get out of where you’re always are and spend some time at different, new places, you can possibly find something new, not just about the places, but also about yourself. You might feel inspired by something unexpected. You might be curious about something new. You might find your new favorite place you want to visit more often. While you are there, you might get to forget about your worries, and think about something more important. Who knows?
3.Talk to Someone You Can Trust
Usually, I believe that we can choose to be happy, and to stay positive. I believe that happiness is a perspective, and we can more or less have a control of our own perspectives. It’s my responsibility to create an environment where I can live as happily as possible, by learning about myself, deciding what’s important for me and what’s not, quitting something or starting something, and so forth. By making good choices, we can make ourselves happy, at least at certain level – that’s what I’m believing.
However, that doesn’t mean that we always have to be independent, and figure out things by ourselves. We all be taught that being independent is a good thing, and it really is, but trying to take care of everything just by yourself is not always the best solution. If you always think and make decisions just by yourself, without telling anybody, chances are you get stuck with the same pattern of thinking that you always do. It can be hard to think objectively, and possibly make you be blind about your beliefs or actions.
Sometimes it can be a good idea to talk to someone you can trust. I’m guilty of being a little secretive and trying to figure out everything by myself, because I tend to think I shouldn’t bother someone else, or because I am worried if nobody really understand.
However, especially if you have a tendency to be secretive until you figure out by yourself, talking to someone will be worth trying. It can blow your mind sometimes. You might get to hear what you’ve never thought about before. Even if you can’t find an answer, you will probably feel better just by sharing your problem with someone else. Maybe you’ll realize that you were worrying too much, or maybe you’ll realize that there is something needs to be changed.
Sometimes all you need is just seeing the problem from a little bit different point of you, and other people can be better at doing it than you are.
It’s always a risk that other people can’t give you an advice that feels right for you, but even so, it’s worth trying. Maybe you will understand their advice better, a little later. Maybe you need to experience something to understand it. Even if you never agree with what someone tells you, it still can tell you what’s not right for you. Knowing what’s not right for you might give you a confidence to believe in yourself, once again.
4.Stick to Your Routine, and Don’t Take a Break
We often hear that successful people always have their own routine, and that’s one of the secrets of their success. I know we are almost tired of hearing how important self-discipline and building habits are, but I still want to mention why it is important.
No matter what you are working on, learning or practicing something, exercising, or writing, if you schedule the time to do that beforehand, it will turn what you ‘should’ do into what you ‘have to’ do. You might tend to skip what you ‘should’ do, when you don’t feel like doing it, but if it’s what you ‘have to‘ do, you have to do it.
Yes, you can still be lazy and choose not to do what you ‘have to’ do, but scheduling in advance will make it easier for you to stick to your plan. When it’s what you ‘should’ do, you might think “Oh, I should do that. I need to make some time… but I’m too busy today.”
But if you already scheduled it, you will think, “Oh, it’s time to do that.” Even when you are not motivated, you might still think, “I don’t want to, but I have to, because I decided to!” – and that reason is good enough.
At the beginning, you might feel you are forced by your schedule, but the longer you keep doing it, the more natural it will be for you to do it, and that’s how you can build your own habit. And once it becomes a part of your habit, you will be less likely to procrastinate – because habit is not what you do because you feel like doing, but is more like what you automatically do, because that’s what you always do.
When I write blog posts, sometimes I feel like I can’t type fast enough to catch up with the speed of my mind telling me what to write. I’m excited, but my mind is even more excited, and I feel frustrated that I can’t write as fast as my mind thinks. When I’m like that, it’s never hard for me to write. I just love doing it.
However, sometimes I can’t think of anything what to write, or I don’t want to write anything but spend the whole day watching Netflix. That’s when my habit helps me. Even when I’m feeling lazy, I start writing no matter what, just because I decided to write certain amount in a certain time. It doesn’t matter if I want to, or if I know what to write. I do that, just because I have to do.
Surprisingly, that works. Every time I do that, somehow I always find the right thing to write about, which is authentic and genuine. These days, even when I originally planned to take a break from writing, I end up writing anyway. Why? Because I just can’t help it. It sounds crazy, but now that writing is officially a part of my habit, so I feel unusual and weird, if I don’t do that.
When you are not feeling like doing, or too tired to do whatever you decided to do, that’s not necessarily the sign that you have to take a break. It’s important to listen to your body, because sometimes your body tells you when you really need to relax. But remember, feeling tired doesn’t always mean you need a rest. It’s also possible that you feel tired because you don’t want to work anymore. When that’s the case, it’s okay to push yourself a little. In most cases, it doesn’t harm you, but it rather moves you forward to your goal.
5.Eat Something Delicious and Nutritious
Let’s check what you are eating, especially when you are busy or tired – because you may think you don’t have time or energy to eat healthy, but in reality, it’s possible that you are feeling too busy or too tired, because you are not eating healthy. Just like exercise, healthy food is also important to keep you healthy, physically and mentally.
Take a little while and cook something healthy for you. I promise it’s worth the time. You might think cooking is time consuming, but actually, cooking is one of the best time for multi-tasking. While you cook, you can use that time to relax, to think about something, or even to listen to music, podcast, or audiobook. Cooking is not just a chore. Obviously it allows you to keep a healthy diet, but also you can relax, enjoy the quiet time, and even learn something. If you really don’t have time to cook by yourself, you can also go out to eat, or get some take away. As long as you are eating delicious, healthy food, that will help you to be happy.
Eating can be more than just eating and getting nutritions. If you try to be a little bit more mindful, you can enjoy the scent, texture, color and shape of food and plates, the room and atmosphere – and most importantly, if you are eating with someone else, conversation or time you spend together.
In my case, I’m actually strugging with not feeling guilty about eating. Even when I’m not on a diet, I can’t help feeling like eating is a bad thing, or food can make me fat or ugly – even though I know I shouldn’t feel that way. I’m still trying to find the right balance between being healthy, not gaining unnecessary weight, and genuinely enjoying eating, without feeling bad about it.
6.Laugh Away Your Failures, and Enjoy the Challenge
When things are not going well, it’s difficult to stay positive. It’s tough. When you work so hard for something but still don’t see the result you wanted, it can be really hard. Even if you know that nothing good can happen overnight, sometimes you can’t help doubting yourself, or criticizing yourself.
If you are someone who’s always thinking about growth, making progress, and becoming better version of yourself – please don’t forget this; it’s true that the desire to improve can make you motivated, committed, and work harder. However, that can also be a thief of your happiness. If you are always focusing only on getting a better result or achieving your goal, you’re gonna spend a long time feeling frustrated and unsatisfied.
Goal is important for sure, but there must be tons of step you need to take before you can finally get there. There will always be ups and downs. You will have to go through the bad times, not just good times. In life, the time you spend taking steps is way longer than the moment you finally achieve your goal – because as soon as you achieve something, you will always find the next goal.
You will be much happier, if you can enjoy each step, good and bad, rather than thinking these steps are nothing, until you finally get to where you want to be. Success is not just the moment you achieve the goal. The steps you take towards it are also your success. Even failures are stepping stones of your success.
It’s great that you are humble and hardworking, but it’s also very important to remember how far you’ve come, and focus on how much you grew along the way – and please, please be proud of yourself. When things don’t work out the way you wanted, laugh away! Even if you planned carefully, worked so hard, but you couldn’t get the result you expected, of course you are allowed to feel disappointed, but at the same time, try to be interested.
Because challenge is more interesting and exciting when it’s difficult! Well, even if you wish it could be easier and you could get what you want sooner, just try to enjoy the challenge! Rather than feeling disappointed all the time, be interested, learn from the struggle, think what you can do next, try something new, work hard, and see where it can take you to. You may still not see a good result, but think about it; the process you are struggling can be the most interesting, inspiring, fruitful part of your journey.
These are the 6 things you can try when you feel like a failure. In life, you may experience ups and downs, especially if you aim high. If you can’t avoid having bad days completely, why not try to enjoy even the bad days?
Do you have any other tips about how to survive when you are having a hard time? Please let me know!